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, 12 (3), 272-5

Accumulation of Fructose Polymers in Transgenic Tobacco

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Accumulation of Fructose Polymers in Transgenic Tobacco

M J Ebskamp et al. Biotechnology (N Y).

Abstract

Fructan, a polyfructose molecule, is a storage compound in a limited number of plant species. Usually these species accumulate fructan with a low degree of polymerization (DP) and most of these plants have properties which preclude their use as a fructan source. With the eventual aim of allowing the accumulation of high DP fructans in non-fructan storing plants, we have investigated whether carbohydrate flow in the plant cell can be directed to produce this polymer. For this purpose the SacB gene from Bacillus subtilis, which encodes levansucrase, was modified and introduced into tobacco plants. Transgenic plants containing the sacB gene accumulate fructans. The size and properties of this fructan are similar to fructan produced by Bacillus subtilis, and is stable in plants. Although the level of fructan accumulation in the transgenic tobacco plants ranged from 3-8 percent of the dry weight, no levansucrase mRNA or protein could be detected in these plants. Extension of this work should permit the production of this high molecular weight biopolymer in crop plants for applications in food and non-food products.

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